10 Most Common Mistakes in Consensus

Posted on October 15, 2018 by

10 Most Common Mistakes in Consensus

A Sneak Peak Inside Wisdom of Communities, Volume 3: Communication in Community
by Kim Kanney, Community Bookstore Manager

In our new publication series, Wisdom of Communities, we compile hundreds of our favorite articles from Communities magazine and distill them into 4 hefty books, serving you a platter of the greatest wisdom our authors can offer on starting, finding, communicating and sustaining community.

This series is an essential set for community founders, seekers, current communitarians, students, and researchers alike.

Volume 3 “Communication in Community”

Volume 3 “Communication in Community” includes articles about decision-making, governance, power, gender, class, race, relationships, intimacy, politics, and neighbor relations in cooperative group culture. These areas are key for communities to address if they are to retain members and develop strong and healthy group connection.

For instance, in the article “10 Most Common Mistakes in Consensus Process and What to do Instead,” author Tree Bressen lists what most often keeps a group from making progress in a meeting. Check out Volume 3 for the complete article, while here are the 10 most common mistakes, with a few of Tree’s tips to keep moving forward.

  1. Inappropriate Blocks – Tip: Establish a clear procedure regarding how the validity of potential blocks is assessed and what happens when one arises. Create a robust response to inappropriate blocks.
  2. Enabling Bad Behavior
  3. Poorly Planned Agendas – Tip: Put the most important items early so they don’t get squeezed by less important items.
  4. Having the Same Person Facilitate and Present Topics
  5. Starting from a Proposal instead of an Issue
  6. Too Many Details
  7. Rushing the Process – Tip: Allow plenty of time for discussion. Take the space to really listen to people’s diverse viewpoints and concerns. Trust the wisdom of the whole.
  8. Spending All Your Meeting Time in Open Discussion – Tip: Change formats (planned in advance or on the spot): break into pairs or small groups (three to five people), line up to show the spectrum of opinion, etc. See treegroup.info/topics/handout-formats.pdf for a bunch more ideas.
  9. Attaching Proposals to People
  10. Fuzzy Minutes – Tip: Make sure the decision and reasons for it are written clearly for the records. Record any stand asides (names and reasons), and tasks for implementation (who will do what, by when).

You can read the full article in the Wisdom of Communities: Volume 3 – Communication in Community, now available in print!

Have your own copy delivered to your door and stay tuned for the publication of Volume 4 – Sustainability in Community, to be available in early November. Or, pre-order the entire set!


Leave a Reply